We live in a time of endless interactions and few conversations. Twitter, Facebook, etc. are full of interactions that are rooted in connection and often caring, but not conversations. They don’t enliven like breathe and there is no dance of real engagement and partnering.
Conversation depends on air – the breath – and the out-breathing of self and the in-breathing of other.
We breathe ourselves out through speech and breathe the other in through listening. Through speech we thrust ourselves or press ourselves onto the other. Through listening we receive and embrace the thrust of the other.
It is a dance, the art of partnered movement in the realm of breath. Oh, yes, it is movement – even physiologically the larynx, tongue, jaw and lips, the ear drum, the little bones and muscles of the middle ear and finally the cilia- all those little hair cells that vibrate with sound…all move in conversation.
It is a dance of thoughts and feelings and intentions. Of vulnerabilities and strengths.
It is a dance of questions, declarations, assertions, requests, responses, silences.
It is a dance of comforting, challenging, giving and receiving.
But there are also the shadow conversations of degrees of attack, neglect, betrayal, abandonment. There is no breathing in these conversations, just suffocation, no dance just straight jackets, prison cells, closets, and coffins. However, we must remember with these shadow conversations, if there is connection, caring, and cultivation we can experience forgiveness and redeem the shadows. So even in these painful exchanges, we can grow. I will write more on this in the post on cultivation and the fire of relationship.
But as I speak, listen, respond to myself in an inner conversation and then question myself, I find so much more is living in a conversation that forms a true relationship. Let’s remember the need for connection and the need for caring, when they are present in the relationship, conversation leaps with the potential and momentary realizations of truth, beauty and goodness. These virtues become real through and in conversation.
Let’s focus on…leap. A real conversation in the context of a real relationship (connection, caring, cultivation) always provides a leap, a discovery, a coming home, a sparkle that could not happen without the finding of the self in the other and the other in the self. You know those moments when in the being of the other – you find an aspect of yourself leaping into your soul and you know yourself in a new way.
Recollect the relationships which create the airy space for leaps. Celebrate them!
Another note: I mentioned my inner conversation. Yes, we have many inner relationships as we consist of so many inner voices. All the elements of relationship with others, also live in the relationships between our different inner voices. So note your inner conversations, your inner connections, and seek the caring relationships that live between your voices and how they listen to one another. And write it down, draw a chart, and talk with a friend or a counselor about these. Very powerful and you will find it very helpful in imagining your self.